The Problem with “Decolonised Education”

The call for “decolonised education” stems from a group of people who don’t understand how the academic process actually functions. These students have deluded themselves into thinking that the academic process is personally rigged against them. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The academic process follows a progression of research, followed by publication which is then assessed by peer review. This is not merely a “Colonial” approach to gaining knowledge but rather a process verified by its potency in uncovering how reality actually functions. Only once a hypothesis has gone through this rigorous process is it eligible to be taught in lecture halls. This process is designed to limit the effect of one’s personal biases, as these get in the way of uncovering what is actually happening. Depriving our academic institutions of the ability to properly follow this process, and teach the results, would be intellectual and academic suicide.

The academic process, which includes education, should be as impartial as possible and teach students how to think, not what to think. When we allow politics, for whatever reason, to influence the academic process the results can be catastrophic. When politics interferes with the scientific method we get farcical forms of science known as “pseudoscience”, examples of this are eugenics, homeopathy, Social Darwinism the list goes on. It would be tragic if in a haze of revolution we fail to learn from the mistakes of others, even if these others are white.

“Decolonised Education” is such a vague term and that is part of what makes it so dangerous. Who defines what is “colonial” in our current syllabi? Who will decide what is “colonial” in science, in engineering, in medicine or in economics? I don’t trust those who think burning Libraries is a legitimate form of protest with this kind of unearned power. I put my trust in the academic process and those who are experts in their fields. Who do you choose to trust?

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